"The Spirit you received does not make you fearful slaves. Instead you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him Abba, Father." - Romans 8:15
I love this Scripture because I'm an adopted child. My parents made it a point to celebrate my adoption just like a birthday. I never felt like I was loved any less because I was adopted. My parents, like God, treated me like a gift to their hearts.
As I've stated in previous posts, I spent the last 40 years as a spiritual orphan. I was a morally bankrupt man, incapable of love and caught up in my own selfish needs. I didn't really understand who God was. I thought I could manipulate Him like I did everyone else. I lived like I was the authority in my life. I lacked a moral compass and direction.
As a former pastor, that's incredibly embarrassing to admit.
Despite coming from a loving home, I still felt the sting of abandonment from my biological parents. I wanted to push friends and family away from me because I believed they would eventually abandon me too.
My biological parents had abandoned me. My adoptive father and mother divorced when I was young. My first marriage was a horrible disaster - my ex-wife ran off and became pregnant by my best friend of nearly ten years - and not before clearing out my bank accounts first.
Abandonment definitely seemed to be a common theme for my life. In order to preserve myself, I pushed people away before they became too close.
However, the truth was that I longed for a home. I wanted a family, and a loving marriage. But the enemy played on my insecurities so frequently that I began to ignore the desires God had placed into my heart.
To keep people from getting too close, I transformed into a predator and a mercenary. I hated authority and frequently looked for fights. I flirted with weak, insecure women that I knew I could easily manipulate. I became everything that I never wanted to be.
All I ever wanted was to feel like I belonged. I wanted to know that I was worth something. But that can be nearly impossible when you have no clue who you are.
Thankfully, God's timing is always perfect. He called me to be better and I finally decided to listen.
When I was at my lowest point, Jesus decided to begin the process of my adoption into His Family.
Katy and I were falling apart. For years, she'd tried to love me like no one ever had before. My addictions and self-centered behavior repeatedly crushed the only woman I'd ever loved.
Even through the haze of sin, I knew I loved her. I thank God for the clarity He gave me to see that. At rock bottom, I chose love. I chose her. I chose God.
My cruelty and wickedness had brought us to a place where we had two choices- fight for our marriage or let it die. As you can probably guess, we chose to fight.
However, the enemy was not going to give me up that easy. The enemy won't make it easy for any man or woman trying to repair the damage done in a broken family.
We struggled to find our way back to each other. It was like trying to swim out to meet someone in the midst of a hurricane. We needed a miracle and a radical new start. Thankfully, our Father specializes in both!
We started going to our church. We met with our Pastor that first week and laid it all out. He has guided us, and believed in us since then. After that Jesus really began to show me where I belonged.
God knew how badly I longed for His love, even if I didn't. He knew I needed His arms and His heart to shelter me, even if I couldn't fell it. He knew I needed a Father.
I knew about God, I'd read the Bible for decades. I could recite and memorize Scripture. I knew church history. I studied the End Times fiercely. The problem I was knew too much and understood very little.
I didn't understand the love that Christ wanted to bestow upon me.
I was afraid that I had done too many awful things to be His child. I thought church was a special club where all the perfect people gathered together to stroke each others egos and compare profit margins.
There was no place at the table for someone like me. I could accept Jesus as God in my mind, but I was terrified to let Him into my heart as my Father. I'd felt like a bastard child for so long, the idea of anything else felt frightening.
I still clung to the wounds of my adoptive parents divorce. I still had no clue who my biological father was, and this made me feel incomplete.
If Jesus became my Abba, would He leave me too?
The truth is this, when Jesus adopts us, it's forever. Paul tells us in Romans that we receive a part of God, the Holy Spirit, when we are His children. We receive an eternal guarantee that God is with us wherever we go. If Jesus died for us while we were still sinners, how much more will He do for His kids?
I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing like Jesus to satisfy our hearts. If we need a Home, He comes to live within us. If we need a friend, He is just a prayer away. If we need to cry and fall down because it's just too hard sometimes, Our Father will sing us a lullaby and quiet our hearts with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
He is the ultimate father for the fatherless.
If you need of rest and are tired of searching, let Jesus gather you into His arms. Let the God of the universe take His role and place in your life. You have a father who waits for you with perfect love and open arms, will you go to Him?